Chateau Lanessan, Cussac, AOC/AOP Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France, 2010
Lanessan was ranked Cru Bourgeois Supérieur (in the 3-level system of Cru Bourgeois, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnel) until the discredited 2003 reclassification. It was abandoned completely in 2007.
Between 2007 and 2009 there was a grower initiative instituted by l’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, to introduce qualitative evaluation to determine award of (plain) Cru Bourgeois status for a particular wine for the vintage. This system was ratified by the authorities in 2009, with publication each September, starting 2010, of wines meeting the Cru Bourgeois requirements.
A replacement two level system (rather than the previous three levels) of Cru Bourgeois and Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, will start in 2020 with the 2018 vintage.
This wine: Lanessan is in the Cussac commune, between St. Julien and Listrac-Medoc. Grown on deep gravel soils, a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot, with petit verdot, agglomerate cork closure, 14% abv, Ann et Vin, £20 (2015)
Consumer tasting note: nose opens with dark berries, cedar and liquorice, touch of green pepper a giveaway for Bordeaux, touches of smoke and toast later; medium bodied but higher alcohol, more black berries with gorse flower (delicate coconut-like), cedar and warm liquorice. Decent flavour concentration mirrored in the medium-long length.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of dark berries, a creamy sense, cedar, gorse flower (delicate coconut-like) and liquorice, a little green pepper, black berry and black currant, then a deeper richer black liquorice, a little smoky, a low-key toastiness emerges later
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe fine-grained medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium body, medium intensity, with flavours of gorse flower and cedar, liquorice, ripe black currant and black berry. A medium (+) length, with a clean black berried and cedary finish.
Quality: a good quality wine, acidity and tannins complement the alcohol and flavour intensity, well-integrated (not new or perhaps lightly toasted)* oak; lacks flavour intensity somewhat, modest flavour concentration, showing a little complexity with a cedary note from bottle ageing, with a decent length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – it will not improve. The structure is sound but the guts in terms of flavour intensity and concentration, reflected in the length, are simply not there. Should hold for a couple of years though.
* But as pointed out in a timely article on usage of oak barrel, in Decanter magazine November 2016, P.69., a barrel fermented wine shows better integrated oak than one fermented in stainless steel and then transferred to oak for maturation. The explanation is that the yeasts ferment not only the sugars in the must, but also the compounds leached from the oak – so giving a head start with oak integration. Taste like a detective …